Day trips: Sintra, Cascais, Estoril..., Lisbon
A UNESCO World Heritage Site
The Palacio de Pena started as a chapel for Our Lady of Pena. In 16th century a Monastery for the Order of Saint Jerome was added and Pena become a place for meditation for max of 18 monks.
In 18th century the monastery was severely damaged by lighting. The Great Earthquake of 1755 reduced it to ruins. Luckily the chapel escaped without significant damage.
In 1838 King Ferdinand II acquired the old monastery, The castle of the Moors and all of surrounding lands and gave the order to built a summer residence for the royal family. Since 1955 the place is UNESCO world heritage site.
Visiting: 9:45am-7pm admissions fee is 11 EURO summer
10:00am-6 pm admissions fee is 8 EURO winter
There are trains leaving every 15 min from Rossio station. The journey takes about 30-40 min. From the station at Sintra, simply take bus 433 to Sintra Vila or it will be about a 10 min walk into town centre.
circular 434 bus tickets are 4,6 eur for hole day.
If you choose to walk be warned that Pena and Castelo de Mouros can be daunting, steep up hill, one h climb from the city center. If you feel fit, though the beautiful woodlands and stunning view from the top are amazing and awards for your troubles.
LOCAL SINTRA BUSSES:
403 – Cabo da Roca- Cascais
433 -Sintra line
434- Sintra, circuito de Pena, Moorish...
435- Sintra, Villa Express
EVERYONE does the quick day trip to Sintra either by public transport or as part of an organised tour. I can’t really blame them either, because Sintra is simply stunning. I was disgusted that the day I visited, Sintra was enveloped by a stubborn fog which refused to lift, but to be honest it gave the place a mysterious and eerie quality which added a lot of atmosphere of the Palace.
Sintra was a favourite summer retreat for the Portuguese Royal family and the area is scattered with royal buildings and residences as well as other houses and gardens owned and built by wealthy aristocrats and business men. There is a huge amount to see and do in UNESCO recognised Sintra and if had my time over again I would have stayed at least one night to explore the place properly. High on the list of priorities for every visitor to Sintra should be Palacio da Pena, Palacio Nacional de Sintra, Castelo dos Mouros and Quinta da Regaleira but bear in mind that these sights are well spread out over the area so plan your trip well if you want to see everything - I didn’t plan properly and missed lots :(
If you will do one day-trip besides Belem,do it to Sintra!If you do two day-trips,I´d say do those both to Sintra!There´s so much to see in there!
There are trains going from Rossio station every half an hour or even more often. It takes about 30min,and ticket is cheap.
Trains to Cascais and Estoril go from there, too.
See my Sintra-pages for more info.
On our second day in Lisbon, we took a very cheap and short train ride out of the city to the nearby town of Sintra. For hundreds of years this place had been the summer retreat for Portugese Royalty with its tree-covered mountains and cool Atlantic Ocean airs.
However, our first task on this visit was a strenous but enjoyable hike up the mountainside and through its forest to the old Moorish castle, built high above in the 8th century. This was one of the highlights of our entire trip to Portugal. Such a beautiful day, amazing views of both Sintra and the Atlantic Ocean. It was so great just to wander along the ramparts at our leisure, and the crowds were not bad at all. Only E3.50 each to enter the Castle.
See my 'Sintra' page for all the details! Just do it if you are ever in Lisbon.
Cascais has a large harbor with many Yachts and there are several small sandy beaches both in and around the town. Easily reached from Lisbon by car, (A5 Lisboa-Cascais highway), or by frequent inexpensive trains and bus’s makes it popular with Portuguese and Foreign holiday makers and day trippers.
The Citadel, an art and sea museum, parks and of course the charming cobbled streets of the historic centre make this town a great place to visit. It has many hotels and tourist apartments with a wide range of good restaurants at varying costs. It is a good base for those visiting Lisbon and the surrounding areas without staying in the bustle of the City yet still in an equally urban and sophisticated environment.
Batalha means "battle", referring to a promise by King Joao I that if he defeated the Castillian army,he would build a great monastery and dedicate it to Virgin Mary.Although greatly outnumbered, Joao's military put the Castillians to flight. The massive building project began and became eventually a Dominican Abbey. Batalha is one of the gothic architectural jewels of Portugal and a symbol of independence.
The Royal Abbey of St. Mary was built on the orders of King Alfonso I to fulfill a promise he had made to God before a victory over the Moors.The church,the largest in Portugal is spacious and built in simple style.But the tombs of Dom Pedro and Inés de Castro are the greatest attractions.The pair are Portuguese unforgettable love story.Pedro was a prince and Inès was a daugther of a nobleman.When Dom Pedro's wife died, he and Inès lived together and had children.During that time,having children out of wedlock was a BIG SIN.So Pedro's father King Alfonso had her murdered,he rebelled against his father and became a king.
There are lot of more of the story,it's really interesting but having only 30mins at the church was not enough.Our tourguide was good but she was always hurrying;)Grrr!Anyways,Dom Pedro and Inès were buried at Alcobaça in tombs with carvings telling their love story;)
An enchanting hilltop town,Obidos is surrounded within massive 13th century walls.At the highest point,set against the wall,is the castle,which became a royal palace in the late centuries.
Honestly,if you want to explore more of Obidos,don't join a daytrip as the time is so limited.I find this place so interesting but having only 40mins time to explore is not worth paying for this trip.
Queluz Palace was built in the XVIII century to be the summer retreat of D. Pedro de Bragança a member of the royal family. The place was at the time far away from the city center and quite a peaceful place to be. The gold of Brazil was an important source of financing and extravagant buildings were being built in Lisbon and around the city.
In 1755 a huge quake hit the city of Lisbon and destroyed most of it. The reconstruction of the city started soon after by the pragmatic Marquês de Pombal.
The crown was staying in tents in Ajuda district one of the most spared places in Lisbon. The kings were afraid that a new quake would hit town. No quake came but a fire destroyed the royal tents wooden structure in 1794 so a new Palace ought to be built and the first ideas for the Ajuda Palace were put into paper.
By that time Portugal had its first queen, Maria I, that maried Pedro de Bragança that if you remember the beginning was the owner of the Queluz Palace. So a change to this palace was the normal step. D. Pedro lost its bachelor extravaganza and the court won a new royal palace. Queluz became one of the last great rococo buildings in Europe. The palace grew until 1808, with new wings, better gardens and nice rooms. In 1808, Portugal together with Russia refused the blocking of the harbours to England boats demanded by Napolean. Portugal was invaded and the queen fled to Brazil. Rio de Janeiro became the capital of the United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil and the Algarves and the path to the Brazil independence was open. The french didn't capture the queen and their 3 invasions to conquer Portugal failed.
The queen, well she became mad... It was too much for her and her blue royal blood. An earthquake destroyed the palace where she lived all her childhood, a fire the house where she was queen, she had difficulties to get pregnant (she built the estrela church to celebrate her pregancy), she was used by the nobels to get revenge of the Marquês de Pombal, she was kicked from Portugal and forced to live in a far away country, she heard the news of her cousin Marie Anthoinette being decapitated and the american revolution, her first son died, and some say the second in line was gay, she was extremely religious and was haunted by the persecution her father done to the jesuits and some say she suffured from a rare desease called porphiria. She was so religious that people say that one day, when a church was stollen and sacred things spread throughout the floor she decreeted a 9 day mourning period and led a procession throughout Lisbon of penitence.
Today one of the wings is dedicated to accomodate foreign head states. Another is a pousada a charming hotel with a nice restaurant (www.pousadas.pt). The palace itself has lovely interior rooms and gardens quite beautiful. In 1934 there was a fire but the palace was extensively recovered and it is worth a visit.
It was begun in 1747 on order by king Pedro III and completed in 1787. It was originally a hunting lodge. Many rooms are open to visitors. One wing of the palace is used as a residence for foreign head of state visiting Portugal.
The palace is seat of many concerts and exibitions.
You can go to Queluz by train. You have to get off at the Queluz-Belas train station.
Sintra is a hilltop village made by three areas. Estefania; the modern area, with the train and the bus stations. Sintra-Vila; with the Royal Palace. Sao Pedro; located at some kilometers from Sintra-Vila.
Whato to see in Sintra;
The Royal Palace. Perhaps it has Moorish origin. Additions were made in XV and XVI centuries. It has two huge white chimneys and some Manueline decorations.
The Castle of Mouros. It dates from the early period of the Moorish occupation (8th Century). King Alfonso Henriques conquered it in 1147.
The Palacio da Pena; a fairytale castle in the woods.
Quinta da Regaleira. It is an estate with a neo-Maueline palace.
We arrived in Sintra after one hour driving from Lisboa. It has been our first stop after Lisboa and before continuing our trip to the North of Portugal. I think Sintra can be reached more easily, but we got lost several times in the traffic of the capital!
Sintra is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and groups several touristic attractions: the city was built by the Moors and their ifluence is evident in the area above all when you look at the Palacio Nacional da Pena, accessible from the Parque Nacional da Pena (remember to wear comfortable shoes when visiting the park!).
Don't forget to visit the Sintra village and its Palacio Nacional.
Cascais is a picturesque village about 25km west of Lisbon, easy to reach by train from Cais de Sodré. The bay is the main attraction of the town.
The town has managed to retain its original charm as a fishing port and is an interesting mixture with the old houses and chapels of the fishing community alongside larger houses emblazoned with coats-of-arms.
On the Praça 5 de Outubro you can find the town hall, church Nossa Senhora de Assunção and a statue of Dom Pedro I.
Sintra is probably one of the best day trips you can take. It really just seems like a suburb of Lisbon as you are on a local train and basically see outer parts of Lisbon the whole journey. It's a bit strange because you see row after row of dilapidated apartment buildings just a few stops away and then the final stop is Sintra. It's a lovely place and if you enjoy hiking and nice scenary, it's the perfect place to go. It's probably one of my favourite areas in Europe. It is a bit touristy at times (with Byron Cafe's sprouting up), but it really is pretty and there is so much to see.
I would definitely advise to take the bus up to where you want to go and then hike back down to the city. It's a bit of a journey in the other direction. Ideally a car would be most useful here but we managed well enough on our feet. One thing to note that each attraction has it's own fee. So if you want to see Pena Palace, you have to first pay to see the ground/garden area it is located on, and then pay another fee to go inside the castle. Also, since it's up on a hill, you have to pay yet again to ride the bus up (or you can walk). Once you've emptied your wallet at Pena, you can walk a way to the Moorish Castle/Ruins. Note, you have to pay a separate fee to get in there as well.
To Be Continued.....
During this walk in the historical centre of the Colares village one can observe its historical and patrimonial wealth, as seen in beautiful churches, the mansions of the old quintas and the characteristic cottages of the late 19th century. It will also be possible to get to know the places where important personalities from Portuguese culture lived, such as Carlos França, Viana da Mota or Veloso Salgado, or to talk of illustrious Colares-born figures like D. Dinis de Melo e Castro, D. Jerónimo Contador de Argote or José Inácio da Costa, and also to recall writers and poets like Eça de Queirós, Camilo Castelo Branco, Alexandre Herculano ou Wiiliam Beckford. The walk ends in the famous Várzea de Colares, crossed by Rio das Maçãs, next to the tracks of the old tramway, now working again.
Enquiries and bookings: Mon. – Fri. 9.00 a.m. - 12.00 p.m., and 2.00 p.m. - 4.30 p.m.